A headteacher from a school in Sutton said she has been forced to buy private coronavirus tests after eight self-isolating teachers could not get any.

After fears of being left understaffed, headteacher of Sutton High School Behany Dawson claimed she tried to book appointments for her staff every two hours into the night, but had no luck.

Ms Dawson told the Evening Standard: ‘We are almost at the stage where we don’t know how we are going to put people in front of the classes. Of course, we will have to manage it — we will have to buy cover and put classes together.

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‘But there is a point at which you get to a critical mass of the number of staff who are self-isolating.’

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The eight teachers did not have coronavirus symptoms but their families did, so are now having to self-isolate and contain the potential virus in their homes. 

The Government sent 10 tests to the school so far but Ms Dawson said three were unusable with one not coming with a vial, and the other two coming back late so were no longer valid. 

‘Across the country hundreds of thousands of people must be missing from schools. And we are only in week one. As winter goes on it is not going to be a pleasant experience, unless they can seriously get the testing in place,’ Ms Dawson added. 

Parents of the private all-girls school, which costs around £17,000 a year per pupil, say they are also having to seek out private tests to make sure their children are safe too and the family won’t have to self-isolate as a result of a cough. 

It comes after justice secretary Robert Buckland told Sky News’ Kay Burley last week the Government could prioritise testing for schools and children, in its push for a testing capacity of 500,000. 

The general secretary of teachers’ union NASUWT has also called on the Government to prioritise the education sector for the allocation of tests. 

Another 264 leaders have previously reported to the Association of School and College Leaders their schools were struggling to obtain tests for either symptomatic staff, or children who needed them. 

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